Sunday, February 11, 2018

UBF should have protected but disputed speech on campus

Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of University Bible Fellowship

Image accessed online 2018 February 11

If my memory is correct the Pastor made a very bad decision that nearly resulted in the group losing it's club status on campus although I thought they might be going to be banned from campus at the time.  I was not attending group meetings at this time but heard about it from a third party.  I wrote this article on my opinion of banning UBF from campuses at that time.  I am tempted to say my views on marriage by faith were naive then based on my writing but I also wrote an article refuting it and I think I simply did not put as much nuance as I should have and should have included the word "fraud," in describing marriage by faith.  At the time I remember telling someone they should openly put on their recruitment literature and websites, "we do arranged marriages and do not allow dating if you join our group," and then I would be OK with what they were doing provided they give that and certain other information up front.  I do not know what part 2 was going to be.

The article is below.  I wrote it in 2015 and edited it in 2018 February

Why University Bible Fellowship (UBF)  should be a protected but disputed practice of religion and expression of speech in University campuses

Part 1 What does Confucianism have to do with UBF

Are you saying Confucianism is evil and doesn’t that make you bigoted?

1.       I am not racist because Confucianism is not a race but a religion believed by a larger percentage of Korean individuals than for example European Americans but not believed by all Koreans.

2.       There are many ways to interpret Confucius writings but I am referring to the dangerous ways to practice certain interpretations of certain portions of what Confucius taught that result in psychological cults and I am not opposed to the positive things that might come from certain portions of variations of the religion. 

Do you hate Confucianism or Confucians?

I hate what the negative aspects of some mainstream strands of Confucianism do to people but that does not mean I hate people who are Confucians in fact the fact that I hate that they are being harmed by negative aspects of Confucianism might suggest that in some way I truly care for them much more than if I outwardly agreed with them.

What is the purpose of this Article series?  Why do you think UBF speech should be protected.

I wish to explain how UBF customs were based on mainstream religious ideologies that existed at one time in Korea, how these customs based on what was once the state religion in Korea made it easy for UBF to spread a modified form of a psychological cult that already existed in S. Korean mainstream society beyond S. Korea to the world and why UBF should not be banned from Universities because Universities that ban UBF risk becoming information control cults in and of themselves, undergo the risk of appearing bigoted against the once state religion of Korea and thus appear bigoted against Korean individuals unless they fail to  enforce the same rules for speech for both religious and secular speech and for one religious denomination as opposed to another for the tenants in UBF that maybe most offensive to reasonable Westerners were based on the state religion of Korea in a slightly modified form.    Banning UBF members or allowing them to come to campus but not exercise their freedom of speech when it comes to the tenants of their religious view on leadership without banning all Confucian students who express similar views on leadership but are not part of UBF might be legally problematic and potentially viewed as cruelly inconsistent.  I wish to show additionally that matchmaking has been a common practice in Islamic, Jewish and Asian cultures prior to UBF and that dating has been looked down upon as haram by many Muslims and that banning UBF because of UBF’s views on dating without banning Muslim Student Associations would be failure to enforce the same rules of speech in one association as opposed to another.   An exception would be if the matchmaking is combined with unethical illegal coercion in which case the practitioners of said coercion should be prosecuted but not everyone in the whole group should be punished because of the actions of the few and this prosecution should not be for UBF members only but for anyone who does said unethical and illegal activity regardless of denomination.

What about the word “disputed” in the title?

I do not wish to spread the practices of Confucianism as taught by Samuel Lee in the subtle guise of Bible teaching that conveniently elevated him to leader by posting this article but rather I suggest the solution to UBF members using their free speech to spread Samuel Lee’s version of Confucianism is not to ban their free speech but to encourage other people to use their free speech to express their disagreement in a way that will convince people not to support Samuel Lee’s version of Confucianism.  If we ban UBF from University Campuses they will still be able to recruit students next to the boundaries of the University but if we use our free speech to explain why people should not support Samuel Lee’s Confucianism then students who heard our reasons will be better protected and not unsafe the moment they step off campus because they were only protected by the ignorance of censorship instead of the truth proclaimed through free speech.

In your opinion what is the origin of University Bible Fellowship (UBF?)

University Bible Fellowship is the result of Confucian students who studied the Bible with Samuel Lee or Samuel Lee’s allies (those who outwardly held Samuel Lee in higher regard than themselves) who attempted to harmonize the teachings of the 66 books of the protestant Canon of Scripture with the Confucian religion they were taught as children growing up in S. Korea.  The need for guidance from elders in Confucianism resulted in a magisterial structure similar to Ultramontane (as opposed to Ultrajectine Roman Catholicism in which the pope is not considered infallible) Roman Catholicism in which Samuel Lee was like the pope until his death.  I will explain why a pope like figure is inevitable when strands of Confucianism are used as a lens to interpret scripture.  They used Biblical passages to justify a need to recruit disciples from all over the world and thus spread the teachings of Samuel Lee’s strand of Confucianism to Confucians and Non-Confucians alike.  They thought they were making Disciples of Christ but you cannot serve both Christ and any second individual’s teachings where their teachings are irreconcilable.

Why are there similarities between UBF and the Unification Church?

According to Wikipedia The Unification Church was founded in South Korea in 1954 and UBF in 1961

 “In Ming China (1368–1644), Neo-Confucianism had been adopted as the state ideology. The new Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) followed suit and also adopted Neo-Confucianism as the primary belief system among scholars and administrators.”

(Update note: 1961-18=1943 and 1943-34=1909<1910 it took me a while to figure out my math)
A college student approximately 18 years old would have been born in 1943 at the time UBF was founded this would mean if they had any physical ancestors at least 34 years old alive at the time UBF was founded these living ancestors would have lived in a society in which Confucianism was the state religion.  Both UBF and the Unification Church share similar views on leadership and marriage because both have a Confucian influenced lens for interpreting all of life.

Why are there differences between UBF and the Unification Church?

The unification Church has a greater number of religious writings that they interpret from a Confucian influenced lens and they have a different leader to follow but a similar idea to follow him.
Where does the practice of leadership in UBF, the Unification Church and North Korea come from?

“Among the various ways in which social divisions could have been drawn, the most important were the vertical lines that bound multigenerational lineages. And the most fundamental lessons to be learned by individuals within a lineage were what role their generational position had imposed on them and what obligations toward those senior or junior to them were associated with those roles.”

“Confucian ethical rhetoric is still used in contemporary South Korea. Other religions will incorporate it into discussions on proper human behavior. It can be found in the government and in the business world being used to encourage people to put the needs of the group above their own individual needs.”

“It is difficult to find accurate information regarding Confucianism in North Korean religion or practices.[19] However, the Juche ideology does encourage the Confucian virtues of loyalty, reverence, and obedience”

“The working class is not to think for themselves, but instead to think through the "Great Leader” “

How do UBF members with a Confucian upbringing interpret the Bible?

They consider their Bible teacher to be their senior and their Bible teachers’ Bible teacher to be their Bible Teacher’s senior because in S. Korean Confucianism a teacher is considered senior to his student.  The junior demonstrates obedience to the senior just as in Confucianism.  The senior requests that the junior believe the Bible to be true and that the Bible teaches a leadership structure based on the strand of Confucianism taught by Samuel Lee, since the junior already accepts that he should obey his leader based on Confucianism he accepts the Strand of Confucianism taught by Samuel Lee and uses it as a lens to interpret all of scripture.  The student also learns to copy his teacher’s behavior.  Since each person copies their teacher’s behavior and Bible interpretation the interpretation traces all the way back to a top leader who in this case is Samuel Lee or the pope of UBF.  There is some variation in teaching and behavior just like in the game of telephone where someone who copies a message imperfectly will produce an imperfect replica at the final recipient.  But the reason there is not more variation about the belief in leadership structure is because the members recruited from S. Korea in the early history of UBF often were taught Confucianism before they ever met their first UBF Bible teacher and their biological children were taught Samuel Lee’s strand of Confucianism from their parents resulting in a very high percent of the Korean members both 1st and 2nd gen of UBF believing in Samuel Lee’s strand of Confucianism.
“Study, for Confucius, means finding a good teacher and imitating his words and deeds. A good teacher is someone older who is familiar with the ways of the past and the practices of the ancients.”

Why don’t Westerners recruited to UBF understand that they are being invited to study a modern version of Confucianism?

Because the Bible teacher quotes from the Bible and explains why it teaches the leadership structure believed in UBF but actually the Bible can be interpreted more than one way.
If the Bible can be interpreted more than one way why doesn’t the Bible student not raised in Confucianism suggest or believe a different interpretation?   I list 5 possible reasons but there maybe more and a student may change between any of the 5 with time

1. Sometimes they believe a different interpretation but do not realize they believe a different interpretation because they assume certain implied exceptions to what the teacher is saying if they realized the teacher meant what they said without some of the exceptions the student believed were exceptions the student might have acknowledge a  problem with the message.  The student thinks the words of a teacher are intended to mean something different than what the teacher really meant since the student does not interpret the teacher’s words with a Confucian lens.

2. They accept it because it is the first interpretation they heard (See Proverbs 18:17) and they did not yet hear another one

3. They do not accept it and live their life as though they do not accept it but continue to attend the group because they like other things about it or agree with other things taught or have other motivations resulting in conflict either for the rest of their life or until they leave the group (or hypothetically the group changes.)  The leadership views these students as rebellious.

4. They do not accept it but try to obey leadership anyway and do not verbally question the leadership because they want to remain in the group while avoiding conflict.

5. They do not accept it and so they either choose on their own not to show up or are discouraged from showing up.  This means it will be hard to find someone in leadership teaching civil disobedience.

(Update note:  Because those who disagree often maybe gone before they ever become promoted to high leadership positions, affecting the proportions of the group leadership members belief systems.)

6. They infiltrate the group knowing it is wrong like in a spy movie ;)

Websites cited accessed on  March 15, 2015

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